These Three - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

These Three Reviews

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September 5, 2015
Here's a sterling example of how utterly misconceived the Hays Code was. William Wyler adapts Lillian Hellman's play "The Children's Hour", but the alleged lesbian relationship central to the plot of the play has to be replaced by a heterosexual love triangle between Joel McRea, Miriam Hopkins and Merle Oberon. Even with this substitution, the film can't come right out and say what the allegations are. The dialogue pussyfoots around it forcing anyone watching to work pretty hard to figure out exactly what the child is accusing them of. There's the absurdity of it all ... anyone watching the film has to get a pretty clear mental image of what has supposed to have happened in order to have any hope of following the plot, so what is the point of not letting them say it? Nobody is sheltered from anything. The film is just compromised.

Anyway, here's a great cast and a great director struggling to make a watchable film out of neutered material. They almost succeed.
½ July 25, 2013
another version of the classic 'the children's hour' w/o the lesbianism.
½ July 8, 2013
This film is a true delight. Make sure, you add this one to your collection.
½ September 9, 2012
Started out as a gentle lighthearted drama but became dark and destructive. Sometimes children can be genuinely evil.
½ June 8, 2012
who would have thought the biggest bitch in film history thus far would be a nine year old girl? not i, but she is mary tilford in william wyler's fantastic "these three". the children in the film are wonderful, something you rarely see in cinema. natural and not over the top performances. that's what wyler got out of them.
Super Reviewer
½ June 1, 2011
this movie is adapted from a script called children's hour, which deals with suppressed lesbianism, again adapted into a movie of the same name in 60s with audrey hepburn and shirley maclaine. both adaptions are all helmed by william wyler. the 1930s version down-plays the lesbian part by granting it a happy ending. supposedly, it should flop for avoiding the crucial parts of original script, but contrarily it surpasses the original script and the 60s version where shirley maclaine confesses her love for audrey hepburn then hangs herself out of severe guilt. so what makes the 30s version superior?

the answer is simple: suppressed/sublimated desire is quite often more penetrating than laid-bare passion.

it's one of those heart-aching story about closet lesbianism. two educated women hold a boarding school for young girls. then one of their young girls starts a rumour that these two teachers are lesbians just to revenge teachers' punishment. so the school disintegrates due to the homophobic protest from the parents. in the end, the truth is revelt but these two women's career is destroyed and one of the teachers' marriage engagement gets blown off.

the biggest turning point would be, at the last moment, one woman confesses her guilty secret to the other (the one whose marriage engagement got cancelled) that she has loved her ever since the first time she laid eyes on her, but she never dares to tell her. for that, she feels she deserves to be condemned for having had such trespassive desire toward her. so the closet lesbo hangs herself to death and her friend just departs quietly. that is the storyline of original play.

1936 is after the hays code. "these three" had to be heterosexualized. but oddly, this decision has made the movie even more lesbianistic. the scandal is substituted with one of the teachers is having an affair with the other teacher's fiancee. and the forbideen guilty secret is she falls in love with her best frtend's fiancee at first sight but she keeps it to herself. at last, the woman just walks off the scene quietly and persuade the man to chase her friend back. then why it's even more lesbianistic???

can't you see or comprehend the subtlety within that woman's mind? she concedes the man she loves to her friend and she's even willing to do the thing, which is opposite to her own benefit, that is persuading the man she loves into returning back to her friend. her friend is literally the priority of her every choice! what drives a person into such altruism? there must be some love that transcends all within her. the movie maintains a gay (happy) picture by having man and woman embrace passionately in public cafe, lovers' joyful reunion. but the audience might ignore one thing, or they're reluctant to recognize, that however he loves her or claims that he loves her, he could never love her more than her friend does!

there's a term called homosociality, that means two same-sex people feel great attraction and love for each other but they avoid consummating the passion into the realm of carnal pleasure. that happens all the time in the army (the most homophobic place ever!), but army men just fiercely love each other. in one way, army men could be the "gayest" ever. in a brief, sex makes all the difference. during adolescence, young girls all like to hang out with the prettiest girl in class, ain't it also a sign of hidden homosexual attraction under the surface of homosociality? in order to sustain the perfect vision of socialized self-image, most girls choose to hate the prettiest girl as a last resistance of their straight identity. but sometimes, animosity has great deal to do with sex antagonism. to grow up as a "normal" heterosexual woman is to shed off that awestruck admiration for the pretty classmate by choosing to loathe her instead. if you cannot have her, just ruin her, at least within your mind. (don't you think that scenario common in high-school satires?)
September 23, 2010
Not hard to see why this was one of the few films that Graham Greene actually liked. Brilliant work from the cast especially Bonita Granville who is just the most perfectly evil child villain.
February 6, 2010
Absolutely captivating.
½ August 13, 2009
Could have been better.
July 5, 2009
Effective (even though it's not the original) story about the fragility of reputation. The end is a little unearned, but Hellman's exploration of one's inability to return to normalcy and the insidiousness of lies is quite well done.
June 6, 2009
A dark but very interesting story.
May 26, 2009
While I watched this, I toyed with mentally re-inserting the lesbian angle that I knew had been excised by studio rules, but the film finds a way to work quite well without it, and although the ending is much less grim than the original play's, it neatly avoids feeling shallow and tacked-on. I can't say if they would have been better off sticking to the theatrical script, but the film is more about the overall destructive power of social stigma, rather than any particular target of scorn. A particularly well-acted and well-made film for its time, it's intelligently constructed with very natural performances all around. The detail of the plotting is commendable; Whereas a lesser film might have simply rushed straight to the melodrama, here every action is carefully set-up and justified so that nothing seems left to chance. It's a bit of a downer, since the film basically just endears us to three likable people and then sets out to completely destroy them, but check it out if you can get it.
November 12, 2007
this is the 1936 version of hellman's first b'way success 'the children's hour'. it is done sans the lesbian plot element and it is still quite effective. hopkins is surprisingly subtle and understated and oberon holds her own despite a lacquered diction that seems out of place in the film. joel mccrea is one of the most american of american leading men and he's solid interacting with both actresses. special mention must be given to catherine doucet as the bitchy aunt, marcia mae jones as vulnerable rosalie and the formidable bonita granville as venomous mary tilford.
July 19, 2007
June 21, 2007
While the remake is apparently closer to the original play, this one is less "flashy" in its risqueness and expresses the real point of the story much better.
½ April 20, 2006
Full review coming soon
October 27, 2005
toned down but still exceptional version of thew lillian hellman story. well cast, and one of both miriam hopkins and merle oberon's best performances and films. well written, expertly handled by william wyler. a great classic.
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